Airport in Nagorno-Karabakh: A dream becomes reality25.06.2012 | 20:03
Until recently it seemed that the airport in Nagorno-Karabakh would not be opened. Territorial dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan made flights impossible, since Baku claimed that without its consent none plane would land in Nagorno-Karabakh, and if the Armenians perform flights, they violate the air space of Azerbaijan. But as it turned out, the airport was built and now is ready to take the first aircraft in the near future.
According to open sources, the aircraft that will perform flights from the new airport, has been bought long time ago. There is an experienced crew that is ready to get started any day. The average ticket price will be approximately 16-17 thousand drams ($ 1 = 417 dram, Ed.).
Seriousness of the Karabakh party to receive and send civilian aircrafts is doubtless. Also, the fact that Azerbaijan will not shoot down aircrafts arriving in Nagorno-Karabakh is also doubtless. Baku has sent to the International Civil Aviation Organization an official appeal, dedicated to the opening of flights between Stepanakert and Yerevan. "Azerbaijan has never used and will not use force against civilian targets", Foreign Ministry spokesman Elkhan Polukhov told the Trend.
Our correspondent spoke with the residents of Nagorno-Karabakh and learned their opinions about the upcoming opening of the Stepanakert airport.
Gregory Haroutunian, a pensioner: "They have long been speaking that our airport was ready for opening. We discussed it at home, because very often we have to travel to Yerevan for the different cases for 7 hours in the car, for me it is very difficult. Of course, there are some concerns that the aircraft can be shot down, but I do not think that our government has not thought about it, so I think I will fly to Yerevan and back on this aircraft on second or third flight".
Karina Grigoryan, a resident of Stepanakert, a housewife. "I'm ready to fly from our airport, my husband and I have already discussed this. Our daughter is married and lives in Armenia, and we often have to go there. I do not mind that Azerbaijan may shoot down civilian aircraft, because our government is ready to response, and they know it well. I just wanted to say that the price of a ticket at one end is rather high; it would be wise to decrease it to at least 10-12 thousand drams and make it accessible to all segments of the population".
Alvina Gevorgyan, a resident of Stepanakert, on maternity leave for child care: "I am very pleased that our airport will open soon, there will be flights from Armenia, and then, God willing, from Russia. Many of our relatives who live in Russia cannot wait for the opening of the airport to come here to relax, to visit us. We want to feel ourselves civilized people being able to fly to Yerevan, because every family is somehow connected with Armenia - either through job, or through relatives in Armenia. If there is a need, each person would pay that amount for a ticket to get to Armenia for an hour. Although I think the tickets are rather expensive for simple Karabakh residents.
Of course, I would venture to fly this flight because I do not think anyone could do anything wrong with this aircraft, because there are civilians on board. I am confident everything will be safe".
The airport was supposed to resume work in May 2011, but the opening was postponed. Two months before the scheduled opening in March 2011, the director of the State Administration of Civil Aviation Arif Mammadov said that Baku had the legal right to "physically eliminate" aircrafts trying to land at the Stepanakert airport.